Letters: 5/5/16

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Open Letter to Boulder City Council, Boulder County Commissioners and Arvada City Council
Dear Elected Officials:
Please do not allow the Plutonium Superhighway (aka Rocky Mountain Greenway) to be built anywhere near the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant (aka Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, an active Superfund site). There are dozens of pounds of plutonium, one of the most deadly substances on Earth, buried at Rocky Flats. This ground will be contaminated for thousands of years. Public health standards require that you allow this ground to be disturbed as little as possible.

This is just common sense.

The Department of Energy has already green-washed this area and this subject as much as it can. It’s time to face reality that this area should never become a road, a park or anywhere that is used by humans.

Please read about how harmful plutonium is, even in very minute quantities: “Fukushima Absorbed: How Plutonium Poisons the Body.

You should never allow even a shovel to be taken to this area. That will only disperse the plutonium into the community. Plenty of plutonium is probably leaching out through the groundwater already. Remember the 18 inches of rain that got dumped on Rocky Flats in the Floods of 2013?

No amount of plutonium will ever be safe to humans.

Since we can’t un-make the plutonium, the only thing to do is to leave it in the ground and leave the ground as undisturbed as possible. And pray that our government stops making toxic “mistakes” like this one.
Laura Kriho/Nederland


Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project
I’m appalled by the vitriol about the Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project (BNSCP) that I’ve been reading in Boulder newspapers lately. I think what many have forgotten is that sister-city projects are about cultural and human exchange, it’s not political.

I am a teacher that has been working with the BNSCP to create a pen-pal exchange with my students. I began working with them because I noticed an increase in Islamophobia in our country and even within my classrooms.

It seems that we have come to a point in our country in which the Muslim community is the most hated and, as evidenced by the recent letters and op-ed pieces, are the most misunderstood people in our country. National political candidates and now, even members of our own community, use fear mongering to further their agenda of separateness, and to paint Muslim communities that we know little about, in a monstrous light.

For this reason, I decided that beginning an exchange between my students and students in Nablus would be a step towards creating understanding and therefore a step away from fear. I decided to go through the BNSCP because I became aware of their other cultural exchanges. They are involved in teaching children yoga and meditation in Nablus, publishing Palestinian children’s books, art exchanges and teaching sacred dance to woman in Nablus. All of these programs are aligned with my goals of promoting cross-cultural peace and understanding in my classroom.

My students and Nablus students have started corresponding and my students are discovering that they have more things in common with the Nablus students then they have differences. The pen pal letters never mention religion or politics. They are about soccer, video games, birthday parties and pets, because that’s what kids, even Nablus kids, care about.

I would love for more students and adults to get an opportunity like this, in which we discover the humanity in each other and can put aside our hate and fear of the unknown. If you really believe that the people of Nablus don’t share the same values that we hold dear, what better way to help show them “the way” than to put our values into action — in other words. If we value tolerance of differences then now may be the perfect opportunity to walk our talk … and not just give it lip service.
Andee Miller/Boulder


What Danish doesn’t know
Paul Danish [RE: “Forget Nablus and mediation,” April 28] has either forgotten, or never knew, about the successful mediation between pro-life and pro-choice advocates about 30 years ago.

The mediation was never about resolving “the conflict over abortion.” It was an attempt to solve the problem of how to honor a pro-life advocate’s right to free speech while honoring a pro-choice patient’s right to safely enter a medical facility. A skilled mediator from CDR Associates worked with the group and reached a successful agreement defining the physical area that would allow both free speech and protect patient safety.

Mediation is not about changing peoples’ values. It is about identifying joint problems and identifying areas of potential agreement. It involves empathy and vulnerability — a willingness to actively listen to understand and be open to creative solutions that jointly meet interests.

I do not know if mediation is appropriate for the Nablus sister city issue. I have never seen or heard any proposed problem statements so I’m not sure what is to be mediated. Council’s resolution calls for a “facilitated discussion” which might be helpful in getting the parties to better understand what is important to each of them. It does take some digging by a skilled facilitator to get at the underlying needs, interests, and fears behind the emotions displayed in a highly charged issue.

The City does have a role to play in helping Boulderites work out issues, if possible, before they ignite and pit neighbor against neighbor.
Marsha Caplan/Boulder


We want our FAIRtax
There has been much talk recently blaming budget cuts to the IRS as the primary reason for less responsiveness by the IRS to America’s citizens.

The real reasons include:
1) Congress has had over a 100 years to simplify the tax-code and too make it workable. Instead, they have only made it more complex — over 75,000 pages; the code has become almost impossible to understand and administer.
2) Distrust of the IRS by Americans because of the IRS’s growing “bad boy” image.

Only three logical steps remain: scrap the code, eliminate the IRS and begin over with a new tax plan.

By taxing spending rather than earnings, America can easily accomplish these steps.

FAIRtax is the only plan that will provide America true tax-reform. FAIRtax is well researched, well documented, and is ready to be implemented.
Please contact Congress and encourage them to adopt this plan.
Joe O’Hara/Ocala, Florida